Monday, November 28, 2011


One of the Christmas c.d.'s I was listening to over the weekend includes the Louis Armstong classic, "what a wonderful world". yes it's a bit idealistic, but it gently reminds us just how awesome life can be. and the "awesomeness" can most often be found in the small things. don't know why they chose to put this song on the Christmas album, but it works and remains one of my favorite songs ever. I have actually asked my wife to play it at my funeral!

This got me thinking about other "wonderful" things. Of course, there is another favorite of mine this time of year...the movie classic, "It's a wonderful life". great movie. why do I like it? It reminds us that we often forget how rich we truly are as we focus on the stuff we think the world measures us by. It warms my heart every year.

One more "wonderful" thing I'd give money (seriously) to experience again. In the little Bible college I attended we frequently sang the song, "Wonderful Grace of Jesus". If you're not old school, you probably don't know it, but when 400 students belted this tune out with four part harmony at a chapel service, it was electric! It is true, the grace of Jesus is wonderful.

Some wonderful things this Christmas season...wonderful life, wonderful world, wonderful grace of Jesus...and a wonderful God gives them all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

getting ready for the season

Well, it's not even Thanksgiving day yet, but things are beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I have to confess, the tree in my office (yes I'm that crazy about it) is already up and lights are on. Make me feel warm as all the Christmasses come flooding back. Probably got a jump on this one because there is so much going on this holiday season. Mom made her home made chex mix all weekend...smelled the house up in good way. Sara is shopping for all the stuff for thursday's meal. The boys are placing requests for this. All I need is pecan pie (which my wife is great at making). We bought some tickets yesterday for our Christmas play and delivered them to some of our favorite waitresses in town. My baristas are next. Hope you are buying tickets for people.

We had over 850 boxes of food brought in yesterday for our yearly outreach. So I know many of you have been shopping too. We have at least two parties a week through Christmas Eve. So we are planning for all of that. Then we have a short week at the office...and I have a sermon to write with less time to write it. Also trying to finalyze a present for's really low key now that we have boys who are not boys anymore. Still the time together as family is awesome. I'm ready for the fun and celebration of the season...even if I'm not really ready for how hectic it all is going to be. Get it comes.

Also, I'm getting my shovel ready for snow...which I pray comes soon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

the problem at Penn State

By now, even non-football fans have tuned in to the Joe Paterno debate. Fired because he (and several others) didn't do the right thing "morally". This is the result of a society that has chosen to reject it's morality and God in general. I can't believe how many times I've heard the word "moral" on sports center the last few days. In case you don't know - the moral failure is a little boy was being molested in a shower by an older man on the campus of Penn State. And several people did nothing really to intervene! WHY? There are two reasons that our current culture refuses to intervene in this instance. Part of the problem for Penn State and for all of us:

1. There are no morals. We live in a culture where right and wrong are proclaimed to be up to each individual. This means that we have become desensitized to what really is wrong. When our culture sees something that is obviously wrong (like a child being abused) we don't know how to react...a certain form of moral paralysis takes place and people don't know how to process it all. This is not a hard case. What happened was wrong, and should have been quickly identified as such and stopped just as quickly.

2. This leads to our second problem...we don't think it's our business to get involved in other people's lives. We try to ignore or go around serious issues and needs because we don't want to stick our nose in the middle of it. This is why so many people reported what they saw to their superiors, but never confronted the perpetrator of wrong (ie. the man in the shower). Someone, should have stepped in and physically stopped the abuse.

Christians are called to call things wrong and right according to God's standards and Christians are called to act. Let us not become like the rest of the world that can't identify wrong when we see it and are afraid to act.

Monday, November 7, 2011

fall observations

Leaves - God is amazing in his display of artistry in the trees. This is one of many reasons, I love the midwest. Went for a walk on Saturday morning and the sun was shining on two particular trees. One was covered with red leaves and the sun made it even redder. The other was yellow/orange and it looked like it was on fire - so brilliant. And to think, this is the art work that God does every year and then allows the leaves to fall and blow away. Also caught a great smell from my childhood..burning leaves...nothing like it.

Cool air - you can feel it in the morning...the temperatures are changing signaling a move towards winter. I love the coolness as it fills my lungs and the sight of my breath as I exhale. The first thing man ever did was breathe and it is this breath of life (from God Himself) that is very apparent this time of year. Lord thank you for the cool air that reminds us that we are breathing and that you provide every breath we take. The fall is time for breathing deeply the breathe of God because you can see it.

Christmas - seems like everyone is ready for Christmas a little earlier this year. Don't know why, but I'm already listening to Buble's Christmas album and thinking about putting up our tree the week BEFORE Thanksgiving! Of course, I'm also looking forward to the snow. I hope we have some pretty ones.

Imagine - It is fall and that means our church is collecting coats, toys, and food for our annual loving of our community. It is great to see so many walk to church with Bible in hand and a bag of winter coats in the other. These are hearts truly prepared for worship - giving and ready to learn...very cool.

Time change - We had a 25 hour day on Saturday as we put our clocks back for "daylight savings". I always love getting an extra hour...I think most of us think we are going to sleep an extra hour, but we wake up at 5:30 because our body wasn't told about the time change. Oh well, it certainly did get everyone to church a little earlier than usual.